Are drain-clearing bladders safe?

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You turn on the water, and it won’t go down the drain. Instead, you have a sink full of water … and a big problem on your hands.

If you head to your favorite big box store, you’ll find a plethora of drain cleaners available for use. But how safe are they? Should you really be putting all those chemicals down the drain?

Chemical drain cleaners may clear the problem now. But after several uses, they can weaken and damage your pipes. And it’s not just plumbers vying for your business that say so.

If you purchase many of the chemical drain cleaners on the market today, they’ll work on the clog by using caustic or oxidizing chemicals to get to the root of the problem. Caustic drain cleaners have chemicals that release heat as they approach a problem, turning grease into a soap-like substance that is more easily dissolved. Oxidizing drain cleaners contain chemicals that cause organic materials to lose electrons and become oxidized, moving it through the drain...

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Source: collective-evolution

Everyday cooking and cleaning can lead to an accumulation of fat and debris in the kitchen and bath drains. No matter how careful you may be while cooking, some food waste, hair or fats always manages to slip through your fingers into the drain. A build up of all this can lead to blocked drain pipes and a whole lot of misery and repairs!

Many people resort to preventing this by pouring bleach into the drain on a regular basis, like once a week. They do this because bleach is a cleaner and disinfectant and think that pouring it down the drain every now and then can prevent a block.

However little do they know that this does not help them at all. In fact, doing this can actually mean they are inviting trouble as there is a high chance of triggering a dangerous chemical reaction if the bleach comes in contact with any household product they use!

What is bleach?

Most people use bleach at home. It is a common...

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The householder is responsible for the whole drainage system up to where it joins the sewer, where a house is drained individually.

The local council is responsible for cleansing any part of a communal system, if they were constructed prior to 1937. However the council can reclaim the cost of repair from the householders. Systems constructed after 1937 are the sole responsibility of the householders. They must collectively share the cost of repairing and cleansing the drain up to the sewer.

If unsure, contact the Technical Services Department of your local council to determine responsibility for the drainage system.

Determining the type of drainage system

You must ascertain the type of drainage system you have before attempting to unblock a main drain.

The system most commonly used is the single stack system. The wastewater and soil pipes are all connected to the same single stack.

Although drains run underground, they...

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Unclogging the main drain
How can I prevent clogged drains?

Are chemical drain cleaners safe and effective?

When drains clog, your first impulse may be to rush to the store and buy a chemical drain cleaner. For some blockages these cleaners will work; however, other mechanical procedures will usually clear the clog more completely and safely.

If you decide to use a chemical drain opener, make sure to read and follow the directions on the bottle. These cleaners contain harsh chemicals, so wear goggles and rubber gloves to protect your eyes and skin. Also make sure that drain cleaner is safe for your septic system by reading the warnings on the back. Some cleaners contain chemicals that can disrupt the bacterial action of your septic system. After following the directions on the bottle, remember to run plenty of water to flush the chemicals out of your pipes.

Where is the clog?

When faced with a clogged drain, the first thing you need...

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Indoor and outdoor drains sometimes become heavily clogged with debris, greasy sludge and other materials. In many cases, you can clear out these tough clogs with a plunger or a drain snake. However, sometimes these go-to remedies fail to get the job done. In such circumstances, you may want to place a call to your local plumbing professional. Alternatively, you can turn to a do-it-yourself device called a drain-cleaning bladder. While a bladder can provide clog relief when other DIY options won’t, you must understand how to use one in order to avoid potentially hazardous mishaps. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is a Drain-Cleaning Bladder?

Essentially, a drain-cleaning bladder (sometimes known as a blow bag) is an expansion balloon made from heavy-duty rubber. A standard metal hose attachment sits at one end of the bladder. At the other end sits a component called a pressure-sensitive valve release. When the flow of water expands the bladder past a certain point,...

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A blow bag is a heavy duty rubber bladder that attaches to a hose, is inserted into a drain and uses water pressure to clear a clogged drain. Blow bags are very effective for clearing slow or completely clogged drains. They can be effective in situations where drain snakes are not, like on greasy or gooey clogs.

The bladder is like an uninflated balloon. It fits easily into a drain pipe. When the water is turned on, the bladder inflates with water and wedges itself in the pipe. The bladder then releases pulses of pressurized water to blast away and push clogs out of the pipe and into the sewer. Drain snakes rotate a sharp blade or other tip attachment to break up clogs. However, greasy and gooey clogs just let the snake pass right through. The grease stays in place and continues to clog the pipe.

Blow bags come in various sizes, to fit different drain pipe diameters. Select the correct size for the drain you need to clear. Attach the blow bag to a garden hose. A cold...

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